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Leading Practice Mining Acts Review - Statutes Amendment Bill released

With the first reform Bill now before Parliament for consideration, we are encouraging all South Australians to provide input into subsequent Bills, regulation and policies that guide our State's mineral resources industry.

Update: Proposed changes to ‘exempt’ land and other matters in the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017

The Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 proposes to replace the word ‘exempt’ land with ‘restricted’ land. The word ‘restricted’ land better describes the process for access to land under Section 9 of the Mining Act 1971 (SA) and avoids the confusion created because the word ‘exempt’ implies that there can be no access to that land to conduct operations (whereas there is a process for access to land currently through the courts or by agreement under the Act).

The concept of ‘exempt’ land, and processes for court awarded access and grants of compensation have been around since the 1880s under the former Mining Acts.

It is important to note that the mere change of the term from ‘exempt’ land to ‘restricted’ land does not in any way reduce or negatively impact landowners current rights under the Act.

However, additional changes and/or increased landowner protections included in the Bill include amending:

  • the restricted land definition to better reflect recent court decisions relating to ‘cultivated fields’, and ‘springs, wells, reservoirs and dams’;
  • the 400 metre restriction of operations from a building or structure used as a place of residence with a new ‘prescribed distance’. The 'prescribed distance' will depend on the nature of the exploration operations (i.e. 600 metres for high impact mining operations (e.g. mineral mine pits etc.), 400 metres for advanced exploration operations (e.g. use of declared equipment) or any operations for the recovery of extractive minerals, and 200 metres for low impact exploration operations (e.g. rock samples, surveys));
  • the value of a building or structure within 150 metres from $200 to a prescribed amount of $2,500 or an amount prescribed by regulation (whichever is greater). The value of ‘buildings’ under section 9 has not been increased for many years; and
  • the amount of legal fees available to landowners by 5 times from $500 to $2,500 per landowner, so that landowners can get timely advice on their rights.

Under the Bill, landowners will also have a new right to start ‘exempt/restricted land’ proceedings after the completion of public consultation under the Act. This means that landowners will no longer be restricted by a particular company’s timeframes. The new right for landowners arises at that stage because that is when appropriate information about where ‘exempt’ land is should be available (as some further information about ‘springs’ etc. often comes to light during public consultation). Previously, only an operator could start proceedings to have a court accept (or dismiss) any ‘exempt’ land claim. If the Bill passes and becomes law, landowners will have that right to start proceedings - which will provide more control and certainty about the future.

The above are just some of the landowner benefits outlined in the Bill, as summarised in Fast Facts: The Way Forward (PDF 2.8 MB) and the Guide to the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 (PDF 948 KB). Further, landowners should also soon have access to a free landowner mining advisory service in accordance with one of the non-legislative Recommendations announced in September 2017. The Department is currently scoping the service and resources needed through the Mining and Farming Roundtable for the advisory service. It is currently proposed that the service will be located within Primary Producers SA (PPSA).

What you said
Some submissions discussed clarifying or changing the term ‘exempt’ land. Extracts from some submissions are outlined below:

“The confusion around what is exempt land needs to be cleared up. This has been the source of much ‘angst’ over time as the term is misleading. The reality is that a cultivated field, whilst exempt by definition, has invariably been non-exempt under the current system.”

“As the Act is currently drafted, exempt land is not in-practice exempt from mineral exploration or mining, except in rare circumstances.”

It is only a “veneer of protection” and “the definition of exempt land is not accurate.”

“If there is some ambiguity as to the meaning of ‘Exempt Land’ then the term ‘Prohibited’ could be adopted.”

“If this wasn’t such a serious subject, this definition [exempt land] would be quite comical.  Obviously, there is currently no such thing as exempt land…..”

“Exempt land is a misnomer if mining is allowed on it.”

“The term ‘exempt land’ is somewhat meaningless as exploration and mining companies can force access via Wardens or ERD Court.”

“Exempt land provisions do not clearly reflect its operational outcomes…the Department should provide more clarity….”

“[It’s confusing]… change the word ‘exempt’ to a clearer word or term…..”

Update: Consultation on the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 closed since October

Public consultation has been closed on the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017) (the Bill) since October. On 18 October 2017 the Bill was introduced to Parliament, as the first of many proposed reform Bills.

The current rounds of regional consultation (and those currently being scheduled for after harvest in April/May 2018) relate to outstanding issues, subsequent Bills, regulations and policies as outlined in recent publications (see page 16 of the recent Fast Facts: The Way Forward (PDF 2.8 MB)). Other issues identified by the Mining and Farming Roundtable and the Environment and Conservation Roundtable (not relating to the Bill currently before Parliament) will also be consulted on during the future regional consultation sessions/rounds.

For example, the Mining and Farming Roundtable (comprised of representatives from peak farming and mining bodies) is currently focusing on:

  • scoping a new landowner mining advisory service (that will be located within Primary Producers SA (PPSA); and
  • producing a draft compensation schedule (currently proposed to relate to activities and land valuation) for release for public consultation once finalised by the Roundtable.

The Environment and Conservation Roundtable (comprised of representatives from the peak environmental bodies) is currently scoping a consultation paper on further recommendations for reform that will follow the passage of the Bill currently before Parliament.

Any statements about consultation/feedback on the Bill not closing until mid-November 2017 are incorrect. The current information session schedule is outlined below. In these sessions the Review Team is only informing communities of the content of the Bill that is currently before Parliament, answering any questions about the changes it will bring about (if passed), and consulting on the other regulatory, policy and practice matters as outlined above.

TownDateVenue Between the times of
Wudinna Thursday 19 October Wudinna Community Club 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Cummins Thursday 19 October Cummins Hotel 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Port Lincoln Thursday 19 October Port Lincoln Yacht Club 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm        
Kadina Friday 27 October The Ascot 9.30 am to 11.30 am
Maitland Friday 27 October Maitland Information Centre 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Coober Pedy Monday 30 October Mud Hut Motel 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Adelaide Friday 3 November 101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide 10.00 am to 12 noon
Strathalbyn Tuesday 7 November Strathalbyn Community Centre 10.00 am to 12 noon
Tanunda Wednesday 8 November         Country Women's Association 10.30 am to 12.30 pm
Keith Thursday 9 November Keith Institute 10.00 am to 12 noon
Naracoorte   Thursday 9 November The Naracoorte 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Mount Gambier Thursday 9 November RSL Members Lounge 6.00 pm to 7.30 pm
Burra Tuesday 14 November Burra Sporting Complex 11.00 am to 12.30 pm
Port Augusta Tuesday 14 November Standpipe Golf Motor Inn 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm

Leading Practice Mining Acts Review - Statutes Amendment Bill released

Following extensive stakeholder engagement, the consideration of over 130 submissions and the development of 82 recommendations for changes to the mineral resources legislation, regulation, policy and practices, a Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was released in October 2017.

Given the length and complexity of the Bill, a Guide which summarises the proposed amendments to the Mining Act 1971 (SA), Opal Mining Act 1995 (SA), and Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920 (SA) has been released. The Guide is an easy to read document that will provide a better understanding of the proposed amendments and aligns with the relevant Parts and sections of the Bill. The Bill is the first of several amendment Bills that will be put to Parliament over the next two years.
How a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament

For further information on the next stages of reform see Fast Facts: The way forward: Feedback on the Review, recommendations and the Statutes Amendments (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017, released in October 2017.

Copies of the Bill, Guide to the Bill, and the latest Fast Facts can be downloaded below.

Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017

Download the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining (Bill) 2017 from the South Australian Legislation website

Guide to the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017

Download Guide to the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 (PDF 948 KB)

Fast Facts: The way forward - Feedback on Review, Recommendations and the Statutes Amendmenet (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017

Download Fast Facts: The way forward - Feedback on Review, Recommendations and the Statutes Amendment (Leading Practice in Mining) Bill 2017 (PDF 2.8 MB)

Stakeholder engagement
The Review Team has received a number of requests from people in regional South Australia for the Review Team to return to talk about the Benefits for all - Recommendations on new mining laws for South Australia (PDF 2.2 MB) and the way forward for the Leading Practice Mining Acts Review.

The Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula dates are based on conversations with Grain Producers SA (GPSA), the Mining and Farming Roundtable (see below) and conversations with farmers at the Paskeville Field days. People have requested that we visit before harvest - hopefully these dates will beat the harvest season.

In addition to the regional engagement, a Mining and Farming Roundtable has been established with representation from:

  • Primary Producers SA (PPSA)
  • Grains Producers SA (GPSA)
  • Livestock SA
  • South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME)
  • Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC)
  • Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA)
  • Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association (AMPLA)

The Mining and Farming Roundtable is currently focusing on scoping a state-wide Landowner Advisory Group and developing a 'Code of Practice' for farmers and explorers/miners for compensation so that draft proposals can be consulted on as soon as possible.

If you would like to meet with the Review Team or to arrange for us to come and speak with your organisation about the recommendations or any proposed draft legislation, we welcome your contact via:

  • Email: DPC.miningactreview@sa.gov.au or
  • Phone: 08 8463 3317

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Policy directions

The twenty policy directions documents each outline a key issue raised in the submissions, how the Mining Act currently manages these matters and the possible future policy direction.

Policy directions 1: Protecting the environment

Policy directions 2: Transparency

Policy directions 3: Landowner advice and assistance

Policy directions 4: Notifications to landowners

Policy directions 5: Compliance

Policy directions 6: Mining Register and caveats

Policy directions 7: Private mines

Policy directions 8: Restricted access land

Policy directions 9: Changes to operations

Policy directions 10: Exploration licences

Policy directions 11: Mining leases

Policy directions 12: Mines and Works Inspection Act

Policy directions 13: Opal Mining Act

Policy directions 14: Access to justice and the Wardens Court

Policy directions 15: Royalties

Policy directions 16: Miscellaneous purposes licences and special mining enterprises

Policy directions 17: Financial assurance

Policy directions 18: Personal use

Policy directions 19: Cancellation and suspension

Policy directions 20: Surrender and forfeiture

Submissions

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About the review

This is your opportunity to contribute to shaping the future of our mineral resources and quarrying industries and have your say on improvements to our framework of mining laws.

South Australia has an international reputation for providing a transparent, thorough and rigorous assessment process for the mining industry but it is vital that we continuously improve and review our regulatory environment.

On 27 September 2016 the Minister for Mineral and Energy Resources announced the Leading Practice Mining Acts Review of the Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920, the Mining Act 1971 and the Opal Mining Act 1995 with the view to introducing a bill to Parliament in mid-2017.

This review will allow for the modernisation of these laws to ensure South Australia stays a leader in adopting modern and efficient practices for exploration and mining activities.

We welcome all industry, traditional and other landowners, regional communities and stakeholders to contribute throughout what will be an extensive consultation process.

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What is being discussed?

A series of three Leading Practice Mining Acts Review Discussion Papers have been released on the respective Acts.

Leading Practice Mining Acts Review Discussion paper 1: Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920 and RegulationsDiscussion Paper 1: Mines and Works Inspections Act 1920 and Regulations

The Mines and Works Inspections Act is now nearly 100 years old and its original intent was around the protection of property and amenity, the prevention of nuisance and the health and safety of mine workers and of the general public who may be affected by mining operations. However, the functions of this Act have now been largely replaced by more modern legislation offering far greater protections. Discussion Paper 1 discusses a number of options for review in this legislation.

We welcome your views on the options.

You can access the Discussion Paper via:

Comments on the paper were open until 24 February 2017, with an extension until the end of March 2017 granted to grain producers due to the late finishing harvest.

Discussion Paper 2: Mining Act 1971 and Regulations

Download the Leading Practice Mining Acts review Discussion Paper 2This is the second in the series of three discussion papers to be released as part of the Leading Practice Mining Acts Review.

The Mining Act 1971 is the central piece of legislation that regulates exploration, mining and quarrying in South Australia. The Act has not been holistically reviewed since 1971. Since that time, rapid technological advances have meant that the industry practices have become far more modern, safe, sustainable and efficient - and community expectations around mining and quarrying (such as expectations around open community engagement) have vastly changed. The Discussion Paper initiates a discussion about the objectives and processes of the Mining Act and Regulations so that we can identify ways of updating and improving regulatory processes, without compromising on their effectiveness and efficiency.

We welcome your views on these options.

You can access the Discussion Paper via:

Comments on the paper were open until 24 February 2017, with an extension until the end of March 2017 granted to grain producers due to the late finishing harvest.

Discussion Paper 3: Opal Mining Act 1995 and Regulations

Opal Mining Act reviewDiscussion Paper 3 has now been released for public consultation. This is the third in a series of three discussion papers to be released as part of the Leading Practice Mining Acts Review.

Opal mining is an important and unique South Australian industry. More than 95% of the world's opal now comes from Australia, and approximately 50% of that production comes from South Australian opal fields.

The Act and the Regulations came into operation on 21 April 1997. Prior to that, opal mining in South Australia was regulated under Part 7 of the Mining Act 1971. Only minor amendments have been made to the Act since it commenced.

Recent consultation with the Regulation Branch, Department of State Development and opal mining associations has identified that some further amendments to the Act would enhance transparency and increase regulatory efficiency. Any amendments identified throughout the Review should improve the Act's ability to balance the various competing interests and priorities around opal mining, and increase community confidence in both the industry and in the regulatory process.

We welcome your views on these options.

You can access the Discussion Paper via:

Comments on the paper were open until 24 February 2017, with an extension until the end of March 2017 granted to grain producers due to the late finishing harvest.

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How can you get involved?

You are invited to comment on the Discussion Papers and to share this opportunity with your communities, colleagues and networks.

Feedback and submissions have been:

  • provided on the YourSAy website
  • emailed to DSD.miningactreview@sa.gov.au
  • posted to Department of State Development, Mineral Resources Division, GPO Box 320, Adelaide, 5001

Because the Department intends to proactively engage with as many community members and stakeholders through as many forums as possible (e.g. this minerals website, written submissions, public forums and public meetings, yourSAy, direct meetings with key stakeholders) the Department intends to consider, and transparently publish, relevant comments from this site.

For this reason all comments should be able to be clearly attributed to a person or organisation (the same standard put on everyone making written submissions during consultation). Anonymous, unattributable or irrelevant comments maybe removed if they cannot be verified. This will make sure everyone gets a fair hearing, and we encourage everyone to get involved and make a formal written submission.

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Why the review?

The review of the South Australia mining laws will seek to:

The reform of the Mining Acts will seek to:

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Want to know more?

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